Turtle Islands National Park consist of three islands; Pulau Gulisan, Pulau Bakkungaan and Pulau Selingaan.
The green turtles and the hawksbill turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the best time to head there is between July and September when the sea is calmer.
It is tropical hot and humid year-round. A little cooler at the rainy season from November to February/March. Temps are between 27°-32° C / 80°-90° F the whole year. The dry season last from April to September. Anyway, it can rain at any time of the year. Most rainfall during December and January roads can be impassable.
- Shoulder season: March until May/June and September, October. lower prices, less crowded, weather almost fine.
- Peak season: June, July and August with high season prices, very crowded, almost perfect weather conditions.
Only guided tours are allowed to the beach from evening until next morning 6 a.m. to protect the turtles. Get up early and visit the beach sharp at 6 a.m. If you are lucky you may see a turtle moving from the beach back into the sea. This is truly a unique experience.
Mount Kota Kinabalu is 4.095 meters high and is a solitary mountain. It's not only the highest point of Borneo but also the highest point between the Himalayas and Papua New Guinea.
Sabah can be traveled throughout the year, but June to September can be hot. Climbing Mount Kota Kinabalu is best during the dry season in March and April with a higher chance for clear views. Anyhow, rain can also occur at this time of the year. October to January is the North-East Monsoon that brings heavy and frequent rain. It is worst in November and December. Dry periods can occur, but the monsoon can spoil the whole trip.
Nowadays it's a very popular hike; early booking is essential minimum 6 months in advance! Climbing is limited to 135 people per day since the earthquake in 2015 where people and even children died.
If you want to explore a less busy part of the mountain; at Panar Laban Rock Face on 3.300 m elevation starts the world highest via ferrata. It was opened in 2007 with different routes and difficulties. More information about climbing activities.
Where to Stay
If you like to climb Mount Kota Kinabalu you should book an exceptional lodge before. It'll be pretty strenuous. If you want to explore Mount Kinabalu National Park without climbing to the summit choose a lodge which is not too far located. The very best location already inside the Kinabalu Park offers the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges At Kinabalu Park. An alternative but not as comfortable is the Happy Garden Resort close to the Kinabalu Park Entrance.